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Blame America, fight the Church

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Sep 09, 2009

American movie stars may fawn over liberal politicians, and contribute millions of dollars to Democratic candidates, but they've apparently met their match-- at least-- in the radical-chic habitués of the European film scene.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez got a standing ovation as he arrived at the Venice Film Festival Monday.  

Chavez is a leftist strongman who has used the machinery of power to bulldoze his domestic opponents. You might compare him with Fidel Castro, except that Castro, when he came to power a) had overthrown a corrupt dictator and b) had shown flashes of wit and charisma. Chavez is less colorful: a humorless, plodding autocrat. So what makes him so attractive to the film crowd?

Chavez blames the problems of Venezuela-- indeed of all Latin America-- on American imperialism. That in itself makes him popular with folks who love to hate the society that has enabled them to live in luxury. But there's more: Chavez is engaged in a cold war with the Catholic Church. So are the glitterati of filmdom.
 

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